Three Compelling Reasons To Begin at the Beginning and Move Slowly

When I joined our church 20 years ago, I had never before attended a Sunday School class or Bible Study. Yet, not too many years later, I actually found myself teaching.

Our church needed teachers, my children were that age, and so I said yes. But to ease myself into this new endeavor, I chose to teach the little kids. You know …  the preschoolers. The ones who know just enough to make me certain I should never teach the older ones. 

At the time, I chose the younger set for self-preservation reasons. Although I had attended church all my life, I knew very little about the Bible. To survive as a teacher, it was important that I begin at the beginning and move slowly.

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Photo by Magic Madzik via Flickr.

Start at the Beginning

It was important for three reasons:  

  1. To build confidence.
  2. To develop ability (in this case knowledge and understanding). 
  3. To cultivate dedication.

I’ve found that beginning at the beginning and moving slowly is a pretty good strategy for much of life. 

Young Christians need to feed on Spiritual “milk”—the basic tenets, the essence of the Good News—before moving onto “solid foods”—the finer nuances and deeper meanings of the Word (1 Corinthians 3:2).

Likewise,  it is helpful to begin with “liquids” and “soft foods” when tackling anything new or different or difficult.

  • Instead of giving up all sweets in an attempt at weight loss, first try cutting out a quarter of your sweets and then slowly move to half and then end up with a 75-percent cut.
  • Instead of signing up for a marathon or a 5K the week after deciding to exercise, first begin walking 30 minutes daily and slowly work up to longer periods of walking and then interspersed jogging and then all jogging. 
  • Instead of endeavoring to write a 90,000-word book as your first published work, first begin a blog or write articles for your local newspaper and then move to magazine articles.

Jumping into unfamiliar waters without being properly prepared leads to panic, burnout, or confusion and, ultimately, giving up. 

Move Slowly

All of us need to eventually jump, but generally it is wise to begin near or at our comfort level and slowly work our way to the deeper water.

If my first attempt at teaching Sunday School had been with the high schoolers, I would have likely been intimidated and overwhelmed and may have quit after that one experience. 

Conversely, if I had never said yes to teaching at all, many blessings would have been missed, both for the children and for me. 

And I never would have gained 

Confidence: I’ve led a prayer group, begun this blog, and give presentations about God’s daily grace. 
Ability: My understanding of Scripture has grown exponentially. I am a much better teacher and student of the Word. 
Dedication: Since my first experience of teaching proved successful,and dare I say, enjoyable, a decade later I continue to teach children (even the older ones) and have started reaching out to share the hope of Jesus with soul-weary women. 

Don’t feel you need to dive headfirst into a new endeavor. Reaching for milk first can be a wise decision, just be sure to make the transition to solid food after gaining some confidence, ability, and dedication.

There is absolutely a time to say yes to new things as God directs. But by moving into those new waters slowly, we can gain confidence, ability, and dedication for the long haul.

When you start something new, start where you are and move forward slowly and gain confidence, ability, and dedication. Click To Tweet

“Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Reflections: Have you ever frightened yourself off by gulping when you should have been tasting? In what area do you need to take that first sip of milk?

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By His grace ≈

Julie

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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

6 comments on “Three Compelling Reasons To Begin at the Beginning and Move Slowly
  1. Elizabeth Stewart says:

    Great, really wise advice! So happy to “meet” you via your comment on my gratitude post this week!

  2. wise words Friend! Yes indeed- to answer your question. In this instantaneous society, cultivating is a lost art, no doubt. Thank you for this!

    • Julie Sunne says:

      Cultivating steady growth versus instantaneous success is another aspect to incorporate as we parent as well (to pass on to our children and to embrace ourselves). Like the tortoise–slow and steady.

  3. Cecelia Lester says:

    Yes, we live in an impatient world. Microwaves, Fast Food Drive-Throughs, Immediate Messages. We should learn to take things a bit slower and ‘smell the roses’

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